False Flags as a Method of Information Warfare

Journal Title: International Affairs

Issue Edition: Vol. 65, No. 3

Author: Yevgeny Ivanov


False Flags as a Method of Information Warfare

Author: Yevgeny Ivanov
Student, School of World Economy and International Affairs, National Research University-Higher School of Economics, Moscow
Finalist, International Affairs competition for best analytical article

Source: International Affairs, Vol. 65, No. 3 (2019), pp. 119-132

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21557/IAF.53883001

Key words: provocation, conflict, secret services, operation, United States, NATO, CIA, Italy, Chile, subversive activities, terrorism.

Today’s international political competition is largely about states and political groups trying to undermine one another’s prestige, and they far from always use peaceful means in doing so. The arsenals that are used in such struggles include false flags – attacks, sometimes causing heavy casualties, that are falsely blamed by those who carry them out on their adversaries.

False flags are nothing new in the history of international conflicts. They have been used as a stratagem to provoke armed attacks for quite a while. On the night of August 31, 1939, SS personnel dressed as Polish soldiers attacked a radio tower in Gleiwitz, Germany, in an operation that was codenamed Grossmutter gestorben (Grandmother died) or Operation Himmler and was used by Nazi Germany as a pretext for what started World War II in Europe – the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. Grossmutter gestorben involved putting to death concentration camp prisoners who were said to be Germans killed in the attack and were referred to as Konserve (canned food). The operation was meant to generate public relations support for the invasion of Poland.

Quite a few conflicts that took place between the two world wars were provoked in similar ways. The killing of Japanese gendarme Shakuni Matsushima sparked a Japanese-Soviet armed clash in summer 1938. The Japanese government claimed that Matsushima had been killed on the territory of Manchukuo but in actual fact he had illegally crossed the border onto Soviet territory, which means that the incident was nothing else than a ruse to justify Japanese expansion in China, including expansion toward the Soviet border.1

In a similar incident in March 1938, a Polish soldier was killed on the demarcation line between Poland and Lithuania. Poland immediately blamed the Lithuanian military, deployed about 100,000 troops along the demarcation line and started getting ready for war. It was only the personal intervention of Maxim Litvinov, the people’s commissar for foreign affairs of the Soviet Union, that prevented a war.2

All these incidents followed basically the same pattern: a country secretly engineered an attack against its own citizens and blamed it on another country in a bid to justify an aggression against that country.

Traditional warfare methods were unusable in the post-World War II bipolar world order since a clash between the two poles, the United States and the Soviet Union, would have triggered a global catastrophe. For this reason, false flags ceased to be a means of provoking war and became a means of propaganda, a method of blackening the image of an adversary state or besmirching the reputation of a domestic opposition group and a tactic for demoralization and stirring public fears.
Both of these kinds of false flags – those targeting a foreign state and those targeting a domestic opposition group – are means of information and psychological pressure. Quite often, false flags are employed by external forces, mostly large countries, and analyzing them is essential because such countries are normally major international actors and because understanding the mechanism of their false flags is necessary for developing effective countermeasures.

One of the main false flag projects has been the creation of clandestine militarized groups in Western European countries to counter communist and other domestic left-wing parties, a joint initiative by NATO and U.S. and British intelligence services. Special attention was paid to Italy, the country with Western Europe’s most powerful communist movement. The Italian part of the project was codenamed Operation Gladio, but subsequently the name was extended to groups of this kind throughout Western Europe. The project had the declared purposes of blocking Soviet influence and launching guerrilla warfare if the Soviet Union and its allies deployed troops in Western Europe.

But this is not what the project was truly about. U.S. National Security Council Directive 10/2 of June 18, 1948, instructed the CIA to carry out covert operations across the world that it defined as operations that “are conducted or sponsored by this Government against hostile foreign states or groups or in support of friendly foreign states or groups but which are so planned and executed that any US Government responsibility for them is not evident to unauthorized persons and that if uncovered the US Government can plausibly disclaim any responsibility for them.”3

The directive prescribed types of such operations, which included “propaganda; economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance movements [and] guerrillas … and support of indigenous anti-Communist elements in threatened countries of the free world.”4 Such operations should not include “armed conflict by recognized military forces, espionage, counter-espionage, and cover and deception for military operations.” Hence even an official U.S. administration document gave the go-ahead to false flags, including sabotage, to destabilize foreign countries, something that was done repeatedly afterwards.

Italy was the scene of the United States’ most intensive false flags. At first, the CIA limited itself to financial support for the Christian Democracy (DC) party and propaganda pamphlets against the Communist Party. This brought DC victory at the 1948 parliamentary elections, in which the Christian Democrats defeated the left-wing coalition by a vote of 48% versus 31%,5 but didn’t work as well as that for them at the next elections five years later, in which DC mustered only 40% while the Popular Democratic Front, a Communist-Socialist coalition, won 35%. In April 1963, DC received 38%, the Communist Party 25% and the Socialist Party 14% of the vote.

The left-wing parties in effect dominated parliament and predictably sought a coalition to form a government. This ran against the plans of the United States, which embarked on a series of moves designed to minimize left-wing presence in government. Clandestine armed units commanded by Colonel Renzo Rocca, director of the Italian Defense Ministry’s information service, assaulted DC offices and the headquarters of several newspapers as part of a scheme codenamed Piano Solo and coordinated by the commander of the carabinieri, General Giovanni de Lorenzo, CIA officials Vernon Walters and William King Harvey, and Rocca himself.

The attacks were claimed to have been leftist work, and as a result DC’s right wing forced Prime Minister Aldo Moro to fire the Socialist ministers.6 Piano Solo was a successful false flag with CIA involvement, an operation that reversed the growing role of the Communists and Socialists in government and undermined their popularity.

Yet right-wing extremists wanted to go further. In 1965, Rocca called an ultrarightist congress in Rome to consider action against communism. Speakers were in favor of non-violent action but expressed readiness to use any means. Sabotage was undoubtedly an option – right-wing militants had been taught to use weapons and explosives by American and British instructors at a military base in Sardinia.7 In pursuing a strategy aimed at making the population mistrust and fear the left-wing parties, Italian army, carabinieri and intelligence officers who had close ties to NATO and the CIA organized militant groups that carried out terrorist attacks. Surely there simultaneously existed left radical organizations in Italy such as the Red Brigades that also practiced terrorism, but their terrorist attacks targeted specific individuals – officials, military officers, bankers, judges – and were amateurish technically, while Gladio was a professional mass-scale terrorist operation with attacks perpetrated in places of mass congestion of people in a bid to blame as many deaths as possible on leftists.

This strategy began to be put into practice with a bombing at the National Agrarian Bank headquarters on the Piazza Fontana square in Milan in 1969 with 16 people being killed and 88 injured. The attack was immediately blamed on the Communists, and bomb fragments were planted on left-wing publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli. Later, General Gianadelio Maletti, a former head of military counterintelligence, said at a court trial that the bombing had been part of a U.S. plot to prevent the Communists from taking power.8 A bombing in Peteano in May 1972 had the same purpose. Judge Felice Casson was able to prove that C4 explosive – the type used in the attack – couldn’t be used in those days without permission from NATO, and the bomber, Vincenzo Vinciguerra, said that Italian intelligence officers had helped him organize the bombing as an anti-Communist scheme.9

Later, there were several other large-scale attacks. In 1974, eight people were killed and 102 injured in a bombing during a demonstration in Brescia, and 12 people died and 48 were injured in a bombing on the Italicus Express, a train that was traveling from Rome to Munich. In 1980, a bombing at the central train station in Bologna claimed 85 lives and left more than 200 people injured. The Italian government falsely blamed the Bologna massacre, one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in European history, on the Red Brigades. As numerous other large-scale terrorist attacks, the Bologna bombing was an anti-Communist false flag.

The Bologna attack was not an independent effort by Italian secret services. It was part of a strategy overseen from abroad. Vinciguerra, for instance, said that Gladio had been guided by NATO. NATO wouldn’t have had its easiest of times had the Communists formed a government in Italy10 – the United States believed that in that case Italy would immediately leave NATO and that this might cause the alliance to collapse.11 American intelligence services directed their Italian counterparts and Italian neo-fascists to carry out attacks that were essentially false flags because they were easy to ascribe to forces that were influential enough to prevent the United States from keeping Italy under control.

Support for allies wasn’t the purpose of all U.S. false flags. Some aimed to destabilize countries hostile to the United States. The best example were developments in Chile between 1970 and 1973, when that country’s president was Salvador Allende, who was carrying out economic reforms aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on the United States and curbing the power of Chile’s pro-U.S. tycoons.

In Chile, just as in Italy, there existed a left-wing extremist organization that was similar to the Red Brigades and was called the Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR). Claiming to be the main defenders of the rights of working people, MIR often resorted to terrorism during the presidencies of Jorge Alessandri and Eduardo Frei.

It is no surprise, therefore, that the right-wing National Party and the centrist Christian Democratic Party accused the entire left wing of Chile’s political spectrum of essentially following MIR principles. Quite often, MIR raised fair demands, but it stated them in ways such as bank robberies and bombings of governmental buildings. During Allende’s election campaign, MIR leader Miguel Enríquez didn’t directly support Allende but called for an end to such forms of action.12 MIR then took a different but still radical path, which included arbitrary land expropriations in a bid to radicalize Allende’s agrarian reform.

The moment Allende was declared winner of the 1970 presidential election, the United States set itself the task of overthrowing him at any cost. Washington opted for trying to create tension in Chile via means such as terrorist attacks that could be blamed on Allende’s Popular Unity coalition. On September 16, 1970, the CIA set up a group for Chile with Thomas Karamessines, the CIA deputy director for plans, at the head. The group developed what became known as Project FUBELT, an operation to bring about a coup in Chile by destabilizing the situation in the country through an information war, economic sabotage and terrorism.13 To organize terrorist attacks and riots that would be blamed on left-wing parties, the CIA set up a group that was named Fatherland and Liberty (PyL).14 PyL, which was headed by lawyer Pablo Rodríguez, and a group led by retired general Roberto Viaux, who had been the main planner of a 1969 attempted coup against Eduardo Frei, joined forces to remove the main obstacle to an anti-Allende coup, General René Schneider, commander-in-chief of the Chilean army. Schneider was to be kidnapped in an alleged leftist plot. Three unsuccessful kidnap attempts were made with Schneider being shot dead during the third attempt. The police were quick to find out the true plotters, scuttling the CIA plan to bar Allende from taking power.

This by no means discouraged the United States from using false flags in fighting the Popular Unity government. After Allende took office, there was an attempt to provoke a panic among bank clients by spreading rumors that the new government would nationalize all banks and they would lose their savings. To drive this scheme home, right-wing extremists carried out a series of bank raids that the opposition press blamed on MIR.15 On October 13, 1970, PyL militants carried out a bombing at the University of Santiago and left a leftist pamphlet on the explosion site.16 The police, largely under pressure from Popular Unity, exposed the destabilization strategy during its first phase and arrested terrorist leaders, one of whom admitted that Chilean right-wing extremist groups had been acting in close coordination with the CIA.17

The main purpose of those activities was to portray Allende as a political nonentity. Moreover, the CIA expected that attributing terrorist attacks to left-wing groups would fuel suspicions that Allende was protecting terrorists and thereby provoke senior military officers into a coup to “stabilize” the situation. However, these plans fell through, and on November 3, 1970, Allende was sworn in as president.

Between 1970 and 1973, the United States left no stone unturned to make life difficult for Chile’s population, to block reforms launched by the Popular Unity government, and to undermine its popularity. At first, this policy took the form of pressure on U.S. private banks and international banks to suspend financial support for Chile.18 Soon, MIR militants became active and began to expropriate land or to incite farmers to seize someone else’s land. Subsequently MIR announced it was setting up its own, parallel authorities, thereby playing into the hands of the right-wing opposition.

Allende reacted in a determined way – there were arrests of MIR militants. Remarkably, El Mercurio, an opposition newspaper some of whose funding came from the United States, defended the left-wing militants, which would have been strange if the activities of part of MIR hadn’t been part of the anti-Popular Unity strategy. Later, it transpired that one of the MIR leaders, Osvaldo Romo, had been working for the CIA and after the 1973 coup, in General Augusto Pinochet’s DINA secret police.19

In 1972-1973, Chile was rocked by a wave of violence that included railroad bombings, attacks on convoys carrying food and other goods, and fake anti-government demonstrations20 and produced an atmosphere of fear, apathy, and hopelessness. As a result, the population, though it did support Allende, failed to defend him during Pinochet’s September 1973 coup. The coup was coordinated by U.S. intelligence services, portrayed as a measure to avert a national crisis, and put the country under dictatorial rule for a decade and a half. Terrorism, including false flags, played the main role in creating nationwide chaos that ensured the success of the American plans to topple Allende.

Terrorism is not the only tactic to stir public hatred and mistrust of a government. “Unknown snipers,” a common feature of “color revolutions,” have the same mission. Quite often, opposition groups hire snipers for killings that can be blamed on the government, bring public wrath on it, and trigger a coup. This isn’t logical – selective gunfire won’t help a government disperse demonstrations but is bound to spark public fury. But revolutions, cynical as it may sound, need their martyrs, and if the government doesn’t kill any protesters, the opposition may fake martyrdom and win more support.

Military experts believe that “unknown snipers” tactics go back to the clash between Soviet troops and members of Lithuanian nationalist organization Sajudis in January 1991. Thirteen people, including an Alpha group lieutenant, were killed by snipers who fired from the Vilnius television tower. A bullet extracted from one of the victims during an autopsy was proven to be of a type used in Mosin-Nagant rifles made in 1891, which in itself overturns official Lithuanian allegations that the fire came from the Soviet troops.21

A former member of Sajudis, which had its own armed groups by 1991, recalled that “people were firing on fellow citizens” with the aim of making the Lithuanians hate the Soviet Union.22 As a result, Lithuania’s secession from the Soviet Union became a foregone conclusion while the Soviet army and security services had their reputations seriously undermined by false accusations and by their virtual betrayal by the Soviet leadership. The stained image of the Soviet armed forces and security services was, in turn, one of the causes of the collapse of the Soviet Union. The false flag in Vilnius benefited not only its organizers but all enemies of the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia, who still describe it as Soviet gunfire against defenseless Lithuanians and a Soviet aggression against Lithuania.

Typically, killings perpetrated by “unknown snipers” are hyped in the media as sacrificial deaths, as it were, in a bid to stir hatred for the authorities. In Iran, student Neda Agha-Soltan, who was shot dead during the Green Movement in 2009, in a sense came to be seen as a martyr by the protesters although she hadn’t even been an activist. Green Movement organizers and Western media blamed her murder on Basij, a paramilitary organization that is part of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. However, Mohammad Hassan Ghadiri Abyaneh, the then Iranian ambassador to Mexico, said the CIA had had a hand in her killing.23

Alexander Lukoyanov, a researcher at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, concurs with the Iranian diplomat.24 Destabilization of Iran has been one of the objectives of the United States since 1979, when the Islamic Revolution overthrew the pro-American regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The new leadership nationalized Iran’s oil industry and launched a policy that undermined U.S. influence in the Middle East. One of the patriarchs of American neo-conservatism, Norman Podhoretz, insisted that action against “Islamofascism” should be one of the main tasks of U.S. foreign policy.25 All this supports the theory of American involvement in Agha-Soltan’s murder in a bid to fan protests. The Iranian government drew no benefit from this crime.

In a similar situation during protests in Kiev in winter 2014, 22 people were killed and 29 wounded by snipers who were firing on police, Maidan activists and passersby from several positions on Institutska Street. The sniping enraged both the police and opposition activists and, coupled with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich’s wrong order to move army and police forces out of Kiev, brought forward the coup.

The illegal new government blamed the sniping on the Berkut special police force and on Yanukovich. However, the logic of Yanukovich’s conduct and other facts suggest that it is not Yanukovich but the putschists who needed the sniping. The widely hyped myth of the “Heavenly Hundred” – civilians allegedly shot dead by Berkut fighters – was no more than a ploy by the putschists to justify their refusal to hold talks with Yanukovich and legitimize the coup of February 21.

The sniping in Kiev was part of a strategy coordinated from abroad. There is no doubt that the coup was orchestrated by the United States and European Union countries. Victoria Nuland, a former U.S. assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, said openly that the United States had invested about $5 billion to support “the aspirations of the Ukrainian people to have a strong, democratic government.”26

The foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland became guarantors of an agreement between Yanukovych and the opposition to end all violence and form a new government. On Yanukovich’s part, this was a patently opportunistic compromise, but it could have stabilized the situation and wreck the opposition’s plans to seize power. The United States was the main beneficiary of the Ukrainian coup because it hoped the new government would give the Americans the green light to set up naval bases in Odessa and Sevastopol. The sniping that ratcheted up the confrontation on the Maidan was a great help to the United States.

On November 16, 2017, the Italian website Gli occhi della guerra carried an article that quoted former Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet as saying in a telephone call with then EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton that “there is a very strong conviction that behind the snipers … is someone from the new coalition.”27 Snipers cited in the article were Georgians closely linked to Mikheil Saakashvili. Some of them said that the sniping had been commissioned by S. Pashinsky and V. Parasyuk, at that time opposition leaders and today members of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament. The shooting was coordinated by Mamuka Mamulashvili, a military adviser to Saakashvili, and Brian Christopher Boyenger, a former officer and marksman in the U.S. 101st Airborne Division. The snipers claimed that the purpose of the shooting had been to set the protesters against Berkut in order to destabilize the situation. Chaotic bullets that hit both protesters and police achieved that goal.

The opposition expected that instability would prevent an early presidential election, which it was quite likely to lose.27 The involvement of a retired U.S. army officer and people from Saakashvili’s entourage – the former Georgian president had close ties to U.S. diplomats and intelligence services – is evidence that the United States was one of the beneficiaries of the Institutska Street massacre. The snipers provided the opposition and the West with a strong public relations position – the shootings were blamed on Yanukovich and were used to justify the coup that blew up the agreements between the president and opposition.

False flags are also a major tactic in the information war that the West, mainly the United States and Britain, is waging against Russia. Anti-Russian false flags normally aim to spoil Russia’s global image rather bringing about a change of government in our country. While in some other countries, false flags have succeeded in stirring anti-government feelings, this has never been the case in Russia, even though many allegedly liberal Russian public figures and human rights defenders falsely accuse the Russian government of unlawful actions. To sum up, anti-Russian false flags are designed to discredit rather than to destabilize. The former Soviet Union practically never was a false flag target because it enjoyed a tremendous international prestige and was an equal adversary to the West in information and ideological affairs.

The second Chechen war began with the incursion of gangs led by Shamil Basayev into Dagestan. The Russian army fought them, and in response the terrorists blew up apartments blocks in Moscow, Buynaksk, and Volgodonsk. Soon there emerged allegations that those bombings had been the work of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and had been masterminded by FSB Deputy Director, Rear Admiral German Ugryumov, who was killed in Chechnya in May 2001.
The authors of this theory were Alexander Litvinenko, an FSB officer who defected to Britain, and historian Yury Felshtinsky, who set it out in their book Blowing Up Russia: Terror from Within. To support it and compromise the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin, a lie was circulated to the effect that the bombers had said they had been ordered to carry out the attacks by the FSB.28 This campaign was the brainchild of Russian defector oligarch Boris Berezovsky. Soon British intelligence services got involved in it. Litvinenko met with Martin Flint, an officer in the MI5, and BBC journalist Glenmore Trenear-Harvey, who, according to some sources, was an undercover intelligence officer, and told them that not only the apartment block bombings had been the work of the FSB but also the seizure by terrorists of the theater in Dubrovka and the assassination of former State Duma deputy Sergey Yushenkov.29 In fact, Berezovsky himself, the inspirer of that libel, had said earlier on that the FSB had nothing to do with any of those crimes.30 He needed to spread those lies to obtain asylum in Britain and avoid extradition to Russia, where he had been charged with several counts of fraud.

The assassination of Litvinenko was another false flag targeting Russia’s prestige – numerous mismatches in the story make this obvious. For example, the British government made no comment on the cause of Litvinenko’s death. The theory that Litvinenko was poisoned with a radioactive substance – first thallium and then polonium-210 was named – was put forward by Alexander Goldfarb, executive director of the International Foundation for Civil Liberties, who had worked at the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy in the former Soviet Union.31

According to researchers at a laboratory in Sarov that is Russia’s only producer of polonium-210, an attempt to poison someone with this radioactive metal would also inevitably kill numerous people around, including the killer.32 The lab’s being Russia’s only source of polonium-210 was used by Litvinenko’s murderers as evidence incriminating the Russian government. Despite its absurdity, the theory of Litvinenko’s polonium-210 poisoning continues to be propagated by Western media and British politicians.

In March 2018, Litvinenko’s father, Walter Litvinenko, said in a television program that his son had been poisoned by Goldfarb and had at first been diagnosed with food poisoning.33 Walter Litvinenko expressed suspicion that his son’s assassination had been a CIA plot – Goldfarb worked for the agency. Though it’s just a personal opinion, there are sound reasons for it. The U.S. political elite had vested interest in tension between Russia and Europe. The CIA wasn’t the only beneficiary of Litvinenko’s murder. Another one was the British government, which used the crime as a pretext to turn down a proposal by the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office for a bilateral agreement on mutual extraditions.34

The poisoning in the British city of Salisbury in March 2018 of another Russian turncoat, Sergey Skripal, a former colonel in Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency, and his daughter Yulia Skripal can also be considered a false flag. The fact that Russia was blamed for this crime just a day after it was committed suggests that the poisoning had been planned well in advance.

It was completely illogical to accuse Russia of poisoning the Skripals. Why would Moscow have needed to remove a traitor who had been released eight years before as part of a spy swap anyway, least of all two weeks before a Russian presidential election and three months before the Russia-hosted FIFA World Cup. The British government resorted to a barefaced lie: citing a defense laboratory at the Porton Down science park, Prime Minister Theresa May claimed that the Skripals had been poisoned with Novichok nerve agent manufactured in Russia. Although the laboratory said it had been unable to identify the agent’s source country, the United States, Britain and other EU countries imposed new sanctions on Russia, among other things expelling some Russian diplomats posted in them.

Skripal’s poisoning was in the interest of those who sought to blacken the reputation of our country and to raise obstacles to its cooperation, including its energy trade, with the EU. The United States is up in arms against the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project, claiming that Russia uses it as a means of political pressure on European countries. Meanwhile, the United States makes no secret of plans to boost its exports of liquefied natural gas to Europe, a market where Russia is a strong competitor.

Hence the Skripal affair may well have been a false flag engineered by the United States as a means of unfair competition, expecting that Russia’s stained reputation would lead to Nord Stream 2 being scrapped. However, the German government said it would stick to Nord Stream 2 and on March 27 gave permission to the construction of an offshore pipeline section in Germany’s exclusive economic zone.35 So, the Skripal false flag hasn’t worked despite anti-Russian hysteria in Western media.

There are, in addition, indirect forms of pressure on Russia – false flags targeting supporters of Russia. These have included the crash of a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 in Donbass in summer 2014, and regular chemical attacks in Syria, some of them imitational, that are blamed on the Syrian army while Russia is accused of supporting the “dictatorship” of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Russia’s direct military presence in Syria prevents a U.S. invasion of that country, although the United States has carried out several air strikes against Syrian army forces that were allegedly retaliations for chemical attacks. Those strikes impeded action against terrorists who do use chemical weapons.

Russia can successfully combat false flags and eliminate their effects if it follows a few simple rules. First, Russian intelligence and law enforcement services should take effective measures to prevent foreign secret services, extremists or terrorists from carrying out any attacks that could be blamed on the Russian government. If such attacks happen outside Russia and are unpreventable, diplomats and media should get involved.  Being on the defensive and try to prove its innocence would be the wrong tactic for Russia to use. Russia should go on the counteroffensive. It should prove the adversary’s points to be untenable, and even level accusations at the presumed beneficiary of a false flag.

This was, in fact, the position Russia took in the Skripal affair. Moscow didn’t try to prove its innocence but openly condemned Britain, the United States and the EU for slapping unfounded accusations on our country, and even hinted that they had vested interest in that crime. This position meant not only refusal to discuss false accusations but also an attempt to inflict public relations damage on Western countries.

And finally, false flags should be prevented from sowing panic among Russia’s population, causing mistrust of the state, and creating a general atmosphere of fear or apathy. The government should use sanctions against panic inciters.
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NOTES
1 Shishov, Alexey. Razgrom Yaponii i samurayskaya ugroza. Moscow: Eksmo, 2005, pp. 358-359.
2 Starikov, Nikolay. Voyna chuzhimi rukami. Moscow: Eksmo, 2017, pp. 172-173.
3 Etzold, Thomas H. and Gaddis, John Lewis, editors. Containment: Documents on American Policy and Strategy, 1945-1950. New York: Columbia University Press, 1978, p. 125.
4I bid.
5 Corson, William R. The Armies of Ignorance: The Rise of the American Intelligence Empire. New York: Dial Press, 1977, pp. 298-299.
6 Brozzu-Gentile, Jean-François. L’affaire Gladio:  les réseaux secrets américains au cœur du terrorisme en Europe. Paris: Editions Albin Michel, 1994, p. 77.
7 Ganser, Daniel. Sekretnyye armii NATO: Operatsiya “Gladio” i terrorizm v Zapadnoy Yevrope. Moscow: Kuchkovo polye, 2012, pp. 86-87.
8 Terrorists ‘helped by CIA’ to stop rise of left in Italy // The Guardian // https://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/mar/26/terrorism (retrieved on March 31, 2018).
9 Ganser, Daniel. Op. cit., pp. 14-15.
10 Ibid., p. 19.
11 Haslam, Jonathan. The Nixon Administration and the Death of Allende’s Chile: A Case of Assisted Suicide. Verso, 2005, p. 56.
12 Ibid., p. 52.
13 Kornbluh, Peter. Los EEUU y el derrocamiento de Allende. Una historia desclasificada. Barcelona; Santiago, Chile: Ediciones B Chile, 2003, p. 36.
14 Haslam, Jonathan. Op. cit., p. 62.
15 Platoshkin N.N. Chili 1970 – 1973 gg.: Prervannaya modernizatsiya. Moscow: Russian Support Foundation for Education and Science, 2011, p. 243.
16 Ibid., p. 259.
17 Ibid, p. 265.
18 Sergeyev F. Chili: anatomiya zagovora. Moscow: Mezhdunarodnyye otnosheniya, 1986, pp. 78-79.
19Platoshkin N. N. Op. cit. P. 373.
20 See: Chernyshev V. Zagovor “mumiy.” Moscow: Political Literature Publishing House, 1974, p. 134; Uroki Chili. Ed. By M. F. Kudachkin. Moscow: Nauka, 1977, p. 371.
21 Neuzheli v 1991-m v Vilnyuse “svoi strelyali v svoikh”? Part 1 // Komsomolskaya pravda // https://www.kp.ru/daily/25816.4/2794758 (retrieved on April 1, 2018).
22 Ibid.
23 “Eto byla vsego lish odna pulya” // Kommersant. Vlast // https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/1204306 (retrieved on April 4, 2018).
24 Ibid.
25 Podhoretz, Norman. World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism. New York: Doubleday, 2007. 
26 Gosdep: SShA vlozhili $5 mlrd v “podderzhku demokratii” na Ukraine // RIA Novosti // https://www.ria.ru/world/20140422/1004886020.html (retrieved on March 19, 2018).
27 Quelle verità nascoste sui cecchini di Maidan // Gli occhi della guerra // http://www.occhidellaguerra.it.insideover.com/ucraina-le-verita-nascoste-parlano-ceccini-maidan (retrieved on April 6, 2018).
28 Chekulin, Nikita. Berezovsky – ne svoya igra. St. Petersburg: Piter, 2011, pp. 36-37.
29 Ibid., pp. 40-41.
30 Ibid., pp. 37.
31 Ibid., p. 73.
32Ibid., p. 85.
33 Otets Litvinenko nazval imya ubiytsy svoyego syna na shou “Pust govoryat” // Dyen Online // https://www.dayonline.ru/incidents/news/otec-litvinenko-nazval-imya-ubiycy-svoego-syna-na-66655 (retrieved on April 8, 2018).
34 Sokolov, Sergey. Kto otravil Aleksandra Litvinenko? // Kompromat.Ru // http://www.compromat.ru/page_19687.htm (retrieved on April 10, 2018).
35 Merkel sochla nevozmozhnym “Severny potok-2” bez tranzita cherez Ukrainu // RBC, Biznes // https://www.rbc.ru/rbcfreenews/5acca5b09a7947378ba90282 (retrieved on April 11, 2018).